Tuesday, December 6, 2005
I was thumbing through Martha Stewart's Living yesterday in the doctor's waiting room. Even the ads in that magazine make me feel like a failure, not to mention the suggestions for holiday cheer. Hey, did you know you could melt your own wax candles and even shape them into reindeers with tiny silver beads strewn on them and little reins made out of leather? You can also bake a fourteen layer cake filled with chocolate mousse, fresh cranberries, and mint and topped with holly constructed out of tiny slivers of petrified grass. Or make your own Christmas cards--you only need cardstock, a laser printer, a family, a dog, calligraphy materials, and a studio in which to take the photos. Oh, yeah, and a digital camera. The only suggestion she had that I could maybe do is to wrap some presents in old-fashioned napkins, but you're supposed to pin them in place and that seems like a disaster waiting to happen plus where do I find the napkins circa 1950? I could also probably manage to make name plate placards out of toothpicks stuck in fresh limes, but I can't imagine an occassion where I would need to do so. The other suggestion I could reasonably duplicate is to transform holiday cookie cutters into ornaments by inserting festive paper and pictures inside them and adding a red or green ribbon to hang it. But we don't have a tree. I supposed I could hang them from doorknobs but that seems sad. I resent anyone who has the time on his/her hands to make any of the recipes. And am envious of it too, because I can't see myself having the patience or focus to do any of these things.
Monday, December 5, 2005
Here's Ray's: They have a jukebox next to one of their sticky bar tables and a statue of James Brown above the mirrored bar. The women's room is so small that your knees almost touch the door when you're sitting on the toilet. It's dark inside and smells like cigarette smoke and spilled beer. They had a Christmas tree in one corner decorated with white lights and beer can ornaments. I think we spoiled a typical Saturday at the bar for many of the older men in flannel shirts who frequent the joint. Everyone ordered PBR's.
Next stop, Dive (formerly Low): The bartender at this place was super super low key; didn't even get mad when one of the more drunk guys walked behind the bar or that we brought deli sandwiches, cole slaw, and potato salad into the bar for people to eat. He picked up a sandwich and did two shots with the guys. I told him he looked vaguely like Mark Ruffalo but he didn't know who that is. Dive bar is basically one long bar with stools and a large TV that plays movies (Wedding Singer was on while we were there). The guy who runs it is a very dorky guy with a pointed beard and moussed boy band hair and two hoop earrings. He wasn't there for the happy hour, but he usualy runs around slapping high fives with people he recognizes and asking everybody if they're doing okay. I prefer him though to the blase, disenchanted attitude of people at Royal Tavern next door.
Friendly's Lounge: On the sidewalk near Friendly's, we ran into three women who were just leaving there to go to meet friends at Dive. Jimmy said, Come on, women! Come back with us! They followed us to Friendly's and we were unable to shake them for the rest of the night (in fact, two of the guys were unable to shake them until the next morning when both were sheepinshly dropped off at Tara's after having taken the Drive of Shame). Friendly's seems to be mob owned and run. Not much in the way of decorations, but the bartender, an older guy with slicked-back hair, lined the bar instantly with green bottles of Yuengling Lager. Jimmy's a semi-regular there and so the bartender handed off two guitars, one to him and one to his friend Mike and they crooned and strummed for awhile. I had my first inkling that maybe I could possibly go home soon. Shawn had to back out after Dive, having consumed about a case of PBR's in an hour without the benefit of the corned beef sandwich that arrived just a few moments too late.
And on to Bob and Barbara's: A much roomier bar where they are usually three black musicians on drums, sax and guitar set up right next to the bathroom. Good mix of people here including average Joe's, hipsters, and frat boys. Can't remember too much what I did here...Oh, yes, one of the other women there who had a red ribbon in her hair told me about her brother who died. She started crying a little and excused herself. I struck up a conversation with two guys next to me who were med students from Penn. We had a fairly earnest conversation about organ donation and then they left to go somewhere cooler. Watched as one of the women we picked up on the street inched closer and closer to one of the single guys in our group--she was probably nice enough but she had that wet, curly haired look from the early 90s and a large, horse-like face. Who knows; maybe she was a fabulous conversationalist and had sharp insight into current politics and the human existence. I got a little worried when I noticed I was slightly careening around like someone stuck in a pinball machine--bumping into doors and people and generally tipped off balance in what I hoped was a not noticeable way.
And lastly for me: Dirty Frank's: Not a far distance from Bob & Barbara's. Dirty Frank's has booths and a square bar in the center and places to sit along the wall (though it might have just been the radiator we were perched on). I managed to have part of a PBR, use the bathroom, and say good night to Tara and Jimmy and a couple of the other people before trying to walk out with the PBR in my coat pocket which the bouncer made me leave. Hi, I'm 21 years old. I wove my way home with a double consciousness. I was aware that I was walking erratically and doing things like leaning over to look intently at the numbers of my cell phone and thinking, God, I'm appearing to be so drunk, but I couldn't stop doing it either. Made it home after eleven. I thought Shawn had left again to come out to meet us, but he was still in bed which was sort of a relief.
The rest of the crowd finished the night out at Tattoed Mom's, closing the place without any serious incidents unless you count a few instances of suspected infidelity. Jimmy did momentarily expose his ass at Dirty Frank's (I think), but that's to be expected. I lasted from about 2:30 to 11 which I think is pretty good. Didn't do any shots, had about an hour off in the middle, and ate a little roast beef. Didn't get sick, make out with any strange men, sob uncontrollably, pee my pants, or otherwise create a scene, though I am embarrassed about the beer in the jacket pocket.
Thursday, December 1, 2005
I like the woman who teaches our bouncy class. She's energetic and has a great atheletic body and doesn't tolerate chatty girls. She said to two girls yesterday, I'm going to separate you two if you don't stop talking. Sometimes if she's making us do three sprints in a row, I hate her for an instant, but then I like her again. There's a woman who comes into class every week about 15 minutes after we start. She's short and wears a gray sports bra and black or gray Spandex tights. She has a tiny little upper body with hard, hard abs and a gigantic ass. I mean, BIG. I can't stop staring at it. It just doesn't match the rest of her. She doesn't seem to mind. She always gets up in the front of the class closest to the mirror and stares hard at herself as she jumps on the trampoline. I picture her at a dance club in a little tank top shaking her booty like nobody's business.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
This might be a friend of yours, who knows. They had glass cases and cases of preserved organs and bones too, both healthy and unhealthy--the message was, Don't smoke (blackened lungs) and don't get too fat (they had a sliced up body of a 540 pound person to illustrate the strain subcutaneous fat puts on the internal organs). The most amazing thing was how close you could get to the body--right next to it--they weren't protected by cases for the most part. I blew on one and the exposed nerve muscles shifted. We also saw quite a few pensises and balls, just sort of hanging down, you know, like they do. My favorite but one of the harder ones to look at was a man standing up and sliced into 5 separate pieces. So, the first thing you see is the slice of the entire front of his naked white body and then the last thing you see is the slice of the back of his naked body and in between are three pieces cut to show internal organs. He has all his skin and hair though (including white pubic hair and a short, white military style hair cut on his head) including portions of the tattoos on both his forearms and shoulders. Very strange to look at this man and then see the faint outline of a blue winking mermaid on his arm. Even more ghoulish was the reclining pregnant woman with the 8 month old fetus curled up in her womb which had been peeled away so you could see the child. The placard outside of the exhibit explained that in life, the pregnant woman had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and knew she might not survive the pregnancy and so agreed to be part of the exhibit. Obviously, she did not make it and neither did the baby and now they are forever destined to be gawked at by 6th grade boys on field trips who will be forever scarred by the sight of her cut out and protruding nipples. Another man was completely skinned and holding the skin of his body (with hair on it) in one of his hands as if it were an overcoat he just shook off. I did like the man on the horse though. horses are so overwhelming huge and beautiful, even when you can seek their skulls.
I'm not saying you shouldn't go or that the exhibit is exploitive but it seemed like I should've FELT something more about and I didn't; other than morbid fascination and a vague unease. And of course, a deep curiosity about what they were like in life.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
At least he gave me vicodin. I told my mom that and she said, Oh, no, don't take any. Think of Rush Limbaugh. As if. That's the only reason I agreed to have one in the first place. The dental assistant told me that one of their other patients had asked for Oxycotin after a routine filling. I said, Oh, do you think I could get some of that? He gave me a sad look.
Monday, November 28, 2005
So, yeah, I guess my root canal today at 5 isn't that big of a deal.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
In other news, we're going to Bushkill, PA for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Bushkill is a lovely name for a town. It's about 2 or more hours away and so we'll leave here about noon, eat, then turn around and drive back to Philadelphia. Last year at this time, we took ourselves to Block Island and rode some horses. Not this year. Those cute little dineros we spent in Mexico actually turned out to cost real money.
Here is what I'm thankful for this year (not necessarily in order of importance): my health even my teeth which are only partially falling out, my home with the warm heaters that hum in the night, my boyfriend who not only listens but actually applies what he hears, my friends who let me be flakey, my cats with their purring and shedding and growing old gracefully, the existence of dogs and the possibility that I may get one some day, Hope on 7th which consistently provides me with great thrift store bargains, coffee, and much, much more.
Here is what I'm not thankful for this year: the government.
Last year's dinner at Shawn's sister's house:
Monday, November 21, 2005
Other possible circumstances for which I will shoulder no responsibility in the event of your death:
1. If you amble across the street without looking up. You might be from California where cars screech to a halt at the suggestion of a bi-ped, but you are not in CA now and you should at least pause before walking out into the road.
I thought I would be able to come up with more, but I can't think of any others right at this very moment. Driving in Phildelphia in general remains a challenge every morning up 3rd street to work and every evening down 4th. Third street in the morning is an obstacle course of pot holes, illegally parked PPA ticket-writers, lane straddling garbage trucks and buses, unsteady bicyclists, and people for whom a stop sign means "gun it and run it." Fourth street later in the day is filled with out-of-towners inching along in search of street parking, aggressive SUV's trying to make the five second green lights from block to block, random, unending construction, and parking that alternates between the left and the right side of the street. Forget going down 6th because then you have to contend with people trying to get on and off 76 as well as the duck boats at Market St. and accompanying duck whistles.
P.S. It's Thanksgiving this week. I can't believe it. Radio stations are now playing Christmas music nonstop.
Friday, November 18, 2005
So, I liked the doctor okay, but I hate everything about being at the dentist. It's so primitive. I feel like any second he's going to secure a string to my molar with the other end tied to a door knob and then slam the door to extract the tooth. I hate how they jam what feels like large squares of cardboard into your mouth and then tell you to bite down and hold it for x-rays. He took about 20 pictures of my teeth from every possible angle. I still have cuts on the roof and bottom of my mouth. He informed me I have a low palate which makes it hard to get the pieces of cardboard in there. After all of this, he announced that the x-rays of my damaged tooth didn't come out clear enough and he'd have to scrape at the tooth to see if it was full of decay. He mentioned something about a nerve possibly being exposed. I asked if he would give me the highest amount of Novacaine even if it made me drool for the rest of the day. He obliged.
Here are just a few things I hate about the dentist: I hate the scraping noises of the dentist picking away at your teeth. I hate the way the instruments look--sharp and curled like fish hooks. I hate laying helplessly back in a chair with my mouth open for 30 minutes. I hate being afraid I'm going to choke or suffocate because I can't swallow properly with the fifteen instruments shoved in my mouth. I hate not knowing if he's suddenly going to hit a nerve. I hate the air stream thing--the way it sounds and how it hurts slightly when it hits your teeth. I hate not knowing if he's going to say, Well, you have 16 cavities. I hate thinking that if I make a sudden unexpected move to sneeze or cough, he could accidentally jab a hole in my cheek. I hate that he could hurt me and I might not be able to tell him to stop quickly enough. I hate wondering if the Novacaine might wear off in the middle of the treatment. I hate rinsing and spitting into that little round basin. I hate the bits that fly into the air as he's picking your teeth. I hate when it's all over and your face is numb and slack and you look like a stroke victim and can't eat for the next 5 hours. I hate that I have to go back there in 10 days and in the meantime, he cautioned me that my tooth might react badly to being picked at. I could develop an infection and severe pain. I should call him if this happens.
After he told me that my tooth is very decayed, we discussed the options. I voted for just pulling it out. He vetoed this idea. He said the root canal was the only way. He said it might take two separate appointments. The next appointment will take about an hour and a half. On the bright side, he will be prescribing me painkillers.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Shawn finally purchased a cell phone this weekend from a guy on South St. who has Tourettes. He could speak to you normally, but when he stopped speaking, his left hand would jerk and curl and he'd twitch his head and go, Doh. Doh. Dddoh. He apologized and explained that he had Tourettes. We sat down to fill out the contract. He started flicking me off, over and over. He said, "Sorry. The tick's really bad today. I probably shouldn't go out on South St. or I'll get my ass kicked." I mean, maybe he didn't have Tourettes at all. Maybe he just didn't like our looks. Too bad he wasn't at the gym yesterday so he could've done the same to cell phone girl.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I used to work at Northwestern University Dental School as a slave to 2 of the Deans there before they closed the school to spend money on something like football. The dental students were, on the whole, very nice and smart. For practice, they worked on indigent patients who had no health insurance and could not afford dental care on their own. Here is a horror story about a patient. If you suffer from dentaphobiaousness, do not read on.
Students did routine cleaning as well as more involved techniques like extractions and root canals. They were assigned certain stations to work in, sort of like cubicles with their own machines and equipment. One of the students forgot to clean the machine between appointments and when he tried to spray water into his patient's mouth, blood from the previous client flooded into the second patient's mouth. They had to do an AIDS test and everything. What would that be like to be lying backwards in a chair and feel something warm and coppery rush into your throat and realize it was blood and then worse, it wasn't yours?
But I've always feared dentists, in part because the tap water we used to drink when we lived in Illinois didn't have fluoride and my teeth were effected by it. I think I had like 6 cavities when I was eight years old. As an adult, I've only had one filling, a cheap one that fell out last year (still haven't been to the dentist to have it replaced), but I'm always afraid I"ll go and she or he will say, It's over. We're going to have to take them all out. They'll give me George Washington wooden dentures that clack together when I talk.
One of the first days we were in Mexico, I bit down on a piece of steak and a piece of my back tooth came off. Later in the trip, I ate a piece of toffee and the rest of the filling for that broken tooth also fell out. I'm lucky that it didn't expose a nerve. Now I just have a hole in my head. Every time I chew on that side, the food get stuck in there like paste. I can't stop touching the hole with the tip of my tongue. Okay, so I finally made an appointment for Thursday. Dr. Henry. I probably shouldn't tell him I have a cat with the same name. I did mention to him that I'm scared of dentists. He didn't seem to mind. As a profession, dentists have high suicide rates, but apparently not as high as vets as you can tell from this recent BBC news article.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
I swear to God the second that the clock struck midnight on Halloween, holiday commercials started appearing on TV, department stores threw up holly and blinking lights, and the grocery store stocked the shelves with egg nog. Never too early to spend, spend, spend.
(Pic 1): Tabby as a Hugh Hefner bunny.
(Pic 2): My good friends Liz and Luke after our Halloween party when everyone had gone home.
Here are a two f-ed up things as of late:
(1). Our local newscast on Monday spent 15 minutes of a 30 minute broadcast feeding on the Terrell Owens dismissal. For those on you who aren't from Philadelphia or obsessed with dumb shit like pro football, TO was a receiver for the Eagles who was recently suspended and then asked to leave, I think b/c he insulted someone else . It's all over the news here while 25 seconds were given to a kid in Philly who was accidentally shot and killed by his friend's dad's handgun. Less than that amount of time was given to the riots in Argentina and Bush's inability to say more than "Me goostah bi-lar" in Spanish. Oh, or the recent news that we employed our own illegal weapons of mass destruction when bombing Fallujah by using phosphorous to melt the faces off citizens there. Since salon.com won't let you read their stuff without watching an ad beforehand, here's a cut and past version of the story:
Chemical weapons in Iraq? An old story, but new questions. Has the United States used chemical weapons in Iraq? That charge has been made repeatedly -- and carefully denied just as often -- over the past two years. There was an accusation that the United States used napalm in the first days of the war. The Pentagon denied it, but then admitted that U.S. troops had, in fact, used a "napalm-like" substance in Mark-77 bombs during their march to Baghdad. After the offensive in Fallujah a year ago, there were charges that U.S. troops had used white phosphorus shells against human targets there. The U.S. denied those charges too, admitting that it had used phosphorus shells "very sparingly in Fallujah" but only "for illumination purposes." And on Sept. 11 of this year, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed that U.S. troops had used chemical weapons during fighting in Tal Afar. The United States issued another denial, calling Zarqawi's claims a "standard disinformation technique."
The U.S. denials may all be correct, at least technically so. But a broadcast this week by the Italian state television network, RAI, is raising the question all over again. As the BBC and the Independent are reporting today, the RAI report alleges that the United States used both white phosphorus and the "napalm-like" Mark-77 bombs during the Fallujah assault in November 2004.
The RAI report relies on the words of a former U.S. soldier who said he fought at Fallujah and heard a warning that white phosphorus was about to be used there; the claims of a biologist in Fallujah, who says that a "rain of fire" fell on the city; and photographs, posted on RAI's Web site, that purport to show the burned bodies of Fallujah residents. RAI charges that the use of white phosphorus as a weapon rather than as an illuminating device would constitute the illegal use of a chemical weapon.
So far as we can tell, the mainstream press in the United States hasn't picked up on the story, but the international press certainly has. Al Jazeera has posted the BBC's story on its English-language Web site, complete with graphic photos from RAI.
There's no new response from the Pentagon yet. In the denial issued late last year, the Pentagon insisted that, in Fallujah, white phosphorus shells "were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."
We are such liars and bullies.
The second thing that boggles my mind is that we continue to celebrate white collar criminals like Martha Stewart. I know this is old news, but I saw a preview of her appearance on Jay Leno and she was saying, "Yes, I made apple soup for all the prisoners." And she has her own show. Like, what do rich white pop culture figures have to do to be cut out of the public eye or ostracized in some way? Well, I guess you could take a stance against the war. That's a sure way to lose cred.
Here, let's not talk about it. Let's look at two more pics from our Halloween party.
(Pic 3): I live with this man, this hip hop Jesus. That is not his real hair, by the way, though the beard is authentic and so are the stigmata.
(Pic 4): Our friend Jimmy wearing the wig I was going to use as Sylvia Plath.
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
What else about our trip? Neither one of us own a watch and so we never exactly knew what time it was. Didn't use my cell phone except maybe twice to check the time. Spoke to most people in Spanish, including the whitey-whites we encountered. Shawn gets offended when gringos speak English to him in a foreign country. He answers in Spanish. We did see a lot of Americans who made no effort to learn the language and would instead just speak louder in English or over-enunciate the please and thank-you words everyone knows. "Oh, hey, moochas grahcee-us." We found that most Mexicans would continue talking to us in Spanish even when we were struggling a little, which I thought was a nice show of faith on their part. (Aside: on a survey we handed out at work, one person answered "American" to the question "What languages do you speak?"). We kept a journal for most days and so I don't feel like I need to recount every detail here, and doing so makes me feel sad because it's over. I think you can fall in love with a place like it's a person though it takes time to really know it or to truly love it. So, I have a crush on Mexico. And I don't think he's going to be calling me any time soon.
Monday, November 7, 2005
What else did we learn on our journey? Well, Lonely Planet only goes so far. For instance, very few of the LP entries include dire warnings of where not to eat, sleep, or drive as we discovered when we (and by "we" I clearly mean "Shawn") decided to rent a car and drive from Mexico City to Taxco to Zihuentenjo. Not a huge problem to get from MC to Taxco, except what you may not know about this little colonial silver town is that the streets are 4 feet wide, filled with people with baskets on their heads and young children, and the cobbled roads all go straight up a very steep hill at about a 180 degree incline which makes for awesome driving when you have a Nissan automatic rented from the aeropuerto. Shawn did the best screech around the main fountain...The kind of lurch and scream of the car that makes fighting teenagers stop punching each other to look at you dumb white americans as your car jerks across the pavement in stops and starts that make you hit your head on the dashboard. He did so so so so well, for real, until the very last turn into our hotel when the car rolled quickly backward instead of forward and hit the wall behind us making a small dent and peeling off car paint. Okay, but that's fine. We just parked the mother for the rest of our stay and chugged up the streets ourselves, unaware that the very worst was yet to come.
This would be Tuesday on the drive from Taxco to Zihuantenjo down 95. On the map, 95 looks like a normal road. It doesn't disappear occassionally into the trees or turn into a dotted line or get crossed by a river or anything. Until you get on it. 95 S. runs up and down several mountains. It seemed as though I, as the passenger, was always on the side that was nearest a huge plunge down the mountain without a guardrail. We saw this sign about 1,590 times: It lost its pertinence after the 100th time. Okay,we get it. The roads are very, very curvy. Every 20-40 minutes, we would crash through a rural town that had its own set of dangers, namely, the burros mentioned above, or the dogs, or the speed bumps, or the children who don't mind meandering across the road. Worse, there were no other signs to tell us how far we'd come or how far we had to go to get to the next town. There was also nowhere to turn off if we did decide to stop. And the sun was setting. And then we hit road construction; pot holes that were ten inches deep and just as wide. Luckily, no one else was on the road (because the road was almost undrivable). We thought it might be bad for a few kms or so. It was bad for the next four hours. At one point in our journey, we found ourselves inching down the road next to a herd of horned cattle, with the cattleherd guy running alongside to shoo the cows off to the left so we could get through. And the light was fading. Just before that, we had to pull off to have our car searched by the Federales with their automatic weapons. I tried to use my cleavage to distract the Captain. I don't know if it worked, but they didn't find anything of note. The Captain warned us not to push on but to find a hotel in this small town he circled on the map. He said the roads were very bad and it would be dark soon. An hour later, we reached the town. The sun was just above the treetops and fading fast. Shawn said, I want to press on. We passed yet another "peligroso!" road sign with rusty bullet holes in it. I said, For the record, I think this is a bad idea. I imagined my phrase would echo in our ears when we were hijacked by the Zapitistas and I would be right though also dead. But still right though. It got dark. Shawn swears he saw a tarantula cross the road. We cut across a small river. Finally, finally, finally, we saw the lights of the Pemex gas station. We had made it. It was already becoming mythology, the story we would tell about the trip. I was telling the story even in the middle of it, even as we entered a short section of the mountains that numerous signs and the Captain had warned about, both sign and man repeating, Nieblas, nieblas, while we nodded, oh, okay, the pebbles are bad there? Actually, nieblas are big white foglike clouds that distort and cover your vision. Still, I knew if we made it, that part of the vacation would be the main story we would tell, at least I had to keep reminding myself we would get to repeat the tale so that I wouldn't think about flying off the cliff into the nieblas and tumbling down the side of the beautiful, beautiful mountain.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
La Cuidad de Mexico con el negro perro
We'll be there for the Dia del Muerto, their celebration in remembrance of the dead. From what I read, we won't be trick or treating, but we may eat floured tortillas on a grave. I was snotty about the art work; picturing big Aztec or Southwestern type crap until Shawn took me into a Mexican art store on South street...Still lots of ornate, bright pieces, some of which were really cool. We will not be returning with sombreros, so help me Dios.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The party went fine, though no one hooked up or got into a fight or anything else. The most interesting thing that happened was that I gave a Columbian guy a peek at my right nipple. It was in front of a bunch of people within the context of the conversation about how my dress was lowcut and dangerous. I went and told Shawn right away. He was unfazed, probably because he ran around in a banana hammock last year asking girls to help him find his keys (which were stuffed in his crotch). I don't really like hosting parties unless everyone promises to have the best time of their lives, to go home before 2 AM, to not spill or break anyting or throw up on the floor or on anyone else, to bring and leave behind tons of good alcohol, and to love me, my apartment, and the tiny carrots I threw on a tray for snacks. Even Jimmy was fairly well behaved. He did talk to Shawn's boss about poop, but he always talks about poop. He also spun around on the dance floor with beer flying in all directions. For him, this is tame. Last year, he bent over and showed me his entire asshole, threatened to punch my friend Liz (he shook his fist at her, saying, You people and your feather boas!), and kept throwing himself on the floor to pop the green balloons on his costume that were meant to make him look like a bunch of grapes on a Mad Dog bottle. No one did anything untoward, which is slightly disappointing. The best part of the evening was when I walked out of the bedroom and saw Luke and Liz and Shawn dancing in the middle of the living room and realized everyone else had gone home. We danced in our socks with the strobe lights flashing and then I cleaned up all the sticky cups. Shawn was convinced not to go as the actual crucifixed Jesus in a droppy diaper type loincloth with a crucifix strapped to his back and instead was kind of a hip hop Jesus with tattoos. He got to spend the whole night with his shirt off which I think was his main wish. I was a mermaid caught in a net. With her one boob showing accidentally.
Oh, one other idea for you since the real Halloween isn't here yet: You could wear 1950s clothes and a pair of those nerdy glasses with one of the lenses smashed and then attach a fake crow to your head or your shoulers or all over and add blood running down your face and you are suddenly from Hitchcock's The Birds.
Friday, October 21, 2005
(1). Cute. My friend Jodie once went as Gus the Rotarian. She had a bald wig, moustache, and a pillow stuffed underneath a business suit. She was very funny and unrecognizable. I am not this brave. I still want to be moderately attractive. I don't mind being covered in blood (I prefer it), but I want to be a pretty corpse at least.
(2). Comfortable. I will never go as anything requiring me to wear a box or a ten pound headdress. I need to be able to sit down and walk with ease.
(3). Clever. I don't want to go as a cat or a cheerleader or a fairy or a football player. (*Halloween costume tip #1: If you do find yourself having to go in one of these costumes, just add blood and/or the implication of violence and it's much more interesting. Like, be a cat that's been run over, or a serial killer cheerleader or a fairy with an arrow through its head or a football player in a body cast and you're golden).
Here was my idea for this year: Sylvia Plath. See, because I'm going to be a hostess to a party on Saturday, I thought I could go as her...this sort of hostess prototype in a way... and wear a 1950s dress with a string of pearls and carry around a tray loaded with martinis, but I could add the death part too. For non English majors, Sylvia Plath was a poet who killed herself by sticking her head in the oven and inhaling carbon monoxide. I thought I could blacken my face, burn up part of the blond wig, and draw a grill on the side of my face and it would be funny. But I realized as I was explaining my idea to the 15 year old kid at the costume store that I would be spending the whole night doing the this very same thing; telling people who I was supposed to be (Halloween costume tip #2: Never go as anything too obscure or you will have to explain yourself every 5 seconds and begin to hate everyone around you who just isn't SMART ENOUGH to know who Abbey Hoffman is). So F Sylvia Plath. But, hey, you should go for it if you're invited to a party hosted by the graduate English department in your area. You might also consider: Virginia Woolf (find a fake nose and carry rocks around in your apron pockets), Anne Sexton (a poet who, like Plath, killed herself by inhaling carbon monoxide. She did it in the garage however), or, if you're a guy, dress all manly, drape a cat over your shoulders, wear a beard, and get one of those make-up kits that allows you to do shotgun victim and voile! Ernest Hemingway.
Well, so I'm not going as Sylvia Plath this year. I came up with something less obscure and less violent. I do still need a fake harpoon though, if you happen to own one.
During a very typically unimportant dept. meeting the other day, I made a list of 25 possible ideas. Here are the top 10 ideas, why I rejected them, and a glimpse into my dark and nerdy little heart:
1. Carrie during the pig blood at prom scene.
Reason rejected: how does one give the illusion of being doused in blood the entire night?
2. Freudian Slip. My personal fav since my roommate in college used it. You wear a slip and then a banner that reads "Freudian." RR: Maybe a little too clever for its own good. Plus I wore a banner last year as Miss Fortune. Plus it seemed too easy.
3. Marie Antoinette with a slit throat. RR: I'm not paying that kind of $$ required for a period costume and wig combo. Plus, her head was entirely chopped off so it's not really accurate to just have a slit throat.
4. One of Jack the Ripper's victims. RR: Though it would be fun to be a turn-of-the-century prostitute, it would be difficult to do this costume well without being totally gross or naked or both b/c, as Shawn informed me, Jack the Ripper sliced his victims up the middle. Walking around a party with your intestines hanging out is just impolite.
5. 1950's Girl Dead from a Drag Racing Accident. RR: Didn't realize until yesterday that you could buy shards of glass make-up kits. Will put this on my list for another year.
6. Drowned Ice Skater. RR: My friend Hoffer went as this for Halloween one year and looked really good, her face all blue with icicles in her hair. However, you really need to wear ice skates with the shields on them and I don't own any of those, plus it's uncomfortable, plus my ankles turn in when I wear ice skates.
7. Shawn's Dream Girl. If I could find a way to construct a low-cut dress made exclusively from atlases and road maps and wore that with my boobs hanging out, I would be my urban planner boyfriend very happy. RR: Too narrow. Only he and some of his friends would get it and I don't know where I would begin in making that dress.
8. Fashion victim. RR: This is still in the conceptual stage. Can't figure out how I would convey this idea though I picture leg warmers, gauchos, Vogue magazine, and cowboy boots + blood (it's always "+ blood").
9. Marionette skeleton from Dia del Muerto. Topical since we're going to Mexico City next week. RR: Don't want to walk around with my face painted like a skeleton all night and how would I do the puppet strings?
10. Sharon Tate. RR: I don't look anything like her. No one would no who I am, plus it's pretty sick and weird. Ditto Squeaky Fromme.
You may be happy to know that my final costume choice is very tame, not that violent, and not extremely clever. My friend Karen spent 4 hours at my house last night helping me make it (i.e. use the stapler and glue gun). On the final try on, she looked at me and said, Huh. It's cute. And it's definitely home-made looking. (Halloween costume tip #3: If you're making your costume using office supplies, it's going to suck).
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I was complaining about this to my other friend Hasana, who teaches philosophy at McGill in Montreal, and she said she puts on her I-pod and walks 40 minutes to work and back and now her pants are falling off her and she still eats all the cake she wants.
This morning, I walked to work even though I don't own an I-pod (I asked Shawn if I could borrow his Walkman and he said, "Yeah, but Walkman's tend to skip around," as if I'd been using an I-pod my entire life). It took me about 35 minutes to get here (give or take a guilty stop at a mega coffee company who had an advertisement for a job fair scrawled across the chalkboard. I briefly considered giving up my cubicle life to become a barista. I changed my mind because I decided I would hate all the customers, such as the woman in front of me who was with her one year old and doing that thing where she was attributing all these brilliant thoughts and actions to her dumb baby. He pulls 6 CDs off the display and she says, "Oh! Does Brandon want Mommy to buy this for him? Does Brandon like mixed CDs?" No, Brandon's just a little asshole). I like walking. It makes me feel superior to people in cars. It reminds me that I live in an interesting city. Listening to Billy Bragg on the Walkman while walking up 4th street makes it much easier to pretend I'm in a movie about a spunky girl who refuses to let 8:30-5 life get her down. I have the chance to pet dogs. I don't get frustrated by the clot of traffic that trickles along 3rd street. I will probably never do it again, but at least today I have used my legs to get me to and fro.
A new way to get around town.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
My other exciting news is that Gretel caught a mouse Sunday. It was all fun and games until I heard the mouse squeak in terror. A little gray thing. Shawn kept saying, Oh, it's a baby! I was pleased with Gretel, but sad for the mouse. I went downstairs to open up the front of our apartment door in anticipation of one of us being able to save the mouse and set it free. Shawn followed me, saying, Do we have a shoebox? By the time we came back upstairs to try to do something about the mouse, it had escaped. Gretel has a Pavlovian attachment to sound of the front door opening as she's been allowed out on the front porch exactly 3 times. She sacrificed the mouse's freedom in hopes of gaining her own. Now I'm guessing we have a dead and decomposing baby mouse under our fridge. She was on mouse patrol last night again though...crouched by the refrigerator, waiting for the wounded mouse or its siblings to scurry out. She's a beast. And she's 17. You wouldn't think she had it in her to kill again, but she does.
I dreamt last night that Burger King decided to also sell denim dresses and an entire denim clothing line alongside their burgers; clothing very similar to the slut wear Guess sells. Then it morphed into me telling someone about the dream about BK and the clothes because I thought it was very clever of me to dream about crass commercialism. On a related note, why do they now have a scary plastic BK guy in all of their commercials? If I were a kid, I'd never want to go to Burger King just out of fear that the plastic-faced man might be lurking near the fry machine. Do you ever have the experience of watching an advertisement on TV and deciding you must be stoned or somehow altered by a gasoline leak because there's no way anyone would create such a thing? I thought that last night with the new Target ad, this long drawn-out video/commercial of red and white circles dropping out of the sky like rain. I couldn't spot a single product. The whole thing was based on the image of Target as...?? Acid rain?
Which reminds me of something else I thought of this weekend about how around Halloween time, especially in Philly but I've noticed this in other places too, you can often find yourself questioning if the person you're seeing on the street is seriously dressed that way or if it's a costume. In other words, are they from Jersey or are they on their way to a Halloween party?
Are any of these costumes?
P.S. In my search for bad fashion examples for this entry, found a Vogue magazine layout thematically centered around Alice in Wonderland and shot by Annie Lebowitz. Hot, hot, hot.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Is it okay to wear a pin on my sweater or does it automatically categorize me as one of those women who wear pins? Aren't pins coming back in along with the leg warmers and the gauchos (which I refuse to even consider)? It's not a wreath or a kitty cat or an angel. It's this head of a flapper girl in profile. I'm counteracting the pin with tiny-squared nude-colored mesh stockings and high brown boots plus an obnoxious sparkly ring so I'm hoping the pin looks somewhat ironic or whatever. And world hunger, massive devastation by our military, and the AIDS crisis in Africa continue, but does this pin look dumb?
We had two fashion casualties at work this week. One was this woman who wears clothes that are two sizes too small; she has a massive chest and it's always barely restrained by an off-white shell. Last year, her skirt was so short that when she sat down, you could see the control top of her panty hose. It's not that she's trying to look provocative. She just doesn't seem to be able to find clothes that fit. Anyway, the other day she wore a short skirt with a flared hem that fell just below her ass, high heels, a matching jacket, and the off-white shell again. She had forgotten to remove the huge price tags from the bottom of both shoes and so when she walked away, you were flashed with $29.99 over and over again. My friend told her and she said, You know, I just never pay attention to those things.
Yesterday, another employee was wearing a very dressy, low-cut jacket with a long black skirt with a high slit, black mesh stockings, and black combat boots. She looked like one of those flip-books from when you were little where you can change the head, torso, and legs so like the head is a princess, the body a pirate, and the legs from the ballerina.
I am a bitch.
This pin does not look good either, I've decided, but I'm committed to keeping it on for the rest of the day. Monday, I think I'll show up in my new sequined blouse and high waist khaki Dockers. Tuesday: a hounds tooth Talbot's blazer with a Victorian-necked shirt and flowing, ankle length calico Gunny Saks skirt. Wednesday: hump day! Time to turn up the heat with a zippered lime green pant suit with black flats. I’ll add a white kerchief around my neck for some flare and a white sailor hat. Then Thursday: Things really get heated up with the denim-squared vest over a white turtleneck and brown corduroy skirt with Docksiders. Friday: though we don't observe casual day on Friday in the winters, I'll risk getting written up for the sheer pleasure of wearing my new sweatshirt with the kittens tumbling across it, my white Reeboks, and black leggings. I'm sure I will be headed to HR by the end of the day what with all the wolf whistles and propositions that I'll evoke.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I confess that I watch Law and Order SVU and Law and Order SUV and Law and Order Criminal Intent and Law and Order Murder She Wrote and I never critiqued myself about it until Shawn came along and started groaning whenever the possibility of watching a L&O episode arose. Sunday night, I convinced him to watch Criminal Intent with me through sheer bribery that required me to rub his back for the whole hour and endure his comments about how dumb the show is and of course, it was an extremely bad example, i.e. Corbin Bernson was the guest star and you could see from a mile away that he was also the secret bad guy. L&O always has a secret bad guy; a character introduced early on as an aside who surfaces again later as the one who murdered all the co-eds because his mother forced him to wear cheerleading outfits as a boy. So by virtue of the fact that there's always a secret bad guy, you can pretty much guess who's responsible. But then the other thing that happens all the time is that they get these very miniscule clues that save their case at the last minute. In this one, they found an old envelope containing pink sand that could only, only be found in this one yard in all of the island of New York. In addition, the final moments of the show had Corbin (who was pretending to be a nice guy even though he'd hired an ex-con to kill his wife) illustrate his true colors with the duped wife watching on the other side of the secret cop mirror. Like, the smarmy detective goes, "Your wife wants to open this greeting card business. I think she's a great artist." And Corbin sneers back, "Yeah, if you like talent less bitches" or something like that--something you would never do if you were pretending to be in love with your wife to beat a jail sentence. Now Shawn will never watch it with me again.
But he was in Savannah last night, replanning their cityscape, so I was able to watch L&O in peace. Unfortunately, another pitfall of the show is that they try to keep things semi-topical and only slightly veiled with other stories. Like, after the Jeffrey Dahmer arrest, they had a similar show about a wire-rimmed glasses wearing weirdo gay cannibal named Joffrey Daimer (played by none other than Chad Lowe. No, he wasn't the actor in that one, though CL did appear as a cannibal of female flesh in more recent episode). Last night's episode was about none other than our balloon-following friend, Teri Schiavo. Except in this version, her name was Karen (just like that other persistent vegetable state person named Karen Anne Quindlan. Is this supposed to be a clever inside joke for people born before 1988?). They deviated from the story somewhat in that Teri's family blew up the husband to prevent him from removing the feeding tube, but still. The show was sympathetic of the family's plight, presenting this faux complex ethical question, Wouldn't you kill another person who was trying to murder your beloved and helpless family member? They didn't address the more important questions about quality of life or the actual likelihood of her recover (nil) or the fact that she has the brain capacity of a houseplant.
In other TV news, caught some of America’s Top Dead Girl. They cut the fat girl; what a shocker. Here is this plus-sized girl surrounded for several weeks (or is it hours? Who knows in reality TV since they stretch the season on to 20 times its real time length) by fawnlike girls who subsist on nothing more than Evian and air, and Tyra Banks tells her, “You’ve just lost that sparkle of confidence you used to have when you first arrived.” No shit. I lose self-esteem just from watching the show while eating ginger cookies. Twiggy, the world’s first super model, is a judge and she sat down to give the girls a heart-to-heart talk, explaining to them that before she hit the scene, models were voluptuous, healthy, normal sized girls, but that she was luckily able to change all that to create the first ever heroin chic chic. Her point was that they should embrace their flaws; a way to reinforce this point would’ve been to keep Plus Sized, but they sent her off without even a recommendation to a photographer at More magazine.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
With the exception of the PBS version of the local radio stations in Philadelphia (XPN), we really don't have an eclectic selection of music to choose from on dial. Since I'm generally in the car for an average of 11 minutes a day (to and from work), this doesn't matter too much, but one of the challenges I face every day is trying to skip over the Jesus stations as quickly as possible. This has always been a problem. Your scanner stops on a song that could be good...Could be some new Emo band or another that you're just not cool enough to recognize within the first three measures. So you keep it on the station and sort of don't pay attention until you start to hear one of the following key words/phrases that tip you off to the fact that you're awash in the love of Jesus:
Hallelujah, My Savior, Lord God (and various permutations of this: God Our Lord, Lord of all Gods, God, You're Lord), He is King, Jesus has Risen, On the Cross, Crown of Thorns, Redemption, Have Mercy on Me, What Would Jesus Do?
Tricky words/phrases that have been in nonsecular songs but still sound suspicious: Save me, Sister Christian, Fiery Pits of Hell, "Papa, Don't Preach," Son of a Preacher Man, Bethlehem, Starry, Starry Night, Crucify Me, I'm on the Way to Shambhala, Peace Train, Here He Comes Again.
Other points of confusion: Country Western music. Usually there's a God thrown in there somewhere, but it's not always the focus. Half fake Christian rock bands like U2, Creed, Clearwater Creedence Revival, Marilyn Manson.
I was fake-saved at least two times in high school to gain the attention of a real Christian boy named Rob who wore high top blue Converse sneakers and was the keyboardist in a Christian rock band that actually toured. I even had a hardcover Bible with see-through pages and I would write (in pencil) little stars by what I thought were particularly signficant Biblical passages. In retrospect, they all centered around my faith as it applied to Rob wanting to make out with me. "For he who hath waited 100 days in patient faith of what is to come so shall he be rewarded by the gold of heaven." (translantation: If I keep my fingers crossed and don't do anything, he'll want to make out with me). "And the woman shall cover her hair with a tablecloth and walk with the grace of angels until she begats many sons of god." (Translation: I should buy that straw hat and wear it to the youth group meeting on Wednesday night and he will fall in love with me). You get the point. We did finally make out on two separate occassions, but neither one of us heard the trumpet of angels and he told one of my guy friends he could never really like me because my boobs were too big. I always took this to mean that my breasts would distract from his relationship with Jesus.
P.S. On a very tangential note, I can't remember if Christopher Reeves is dead or not. I kind of think he did die, but I'm not sure. He used to mean so much to me, when I was a pre-teen watching Superman on the big screen. Now when I think of him, I mostly remember the Onion story after Reeves was in the wheelchair that had a headline like, "Christopher Reeves to be placed on top of the Washington Monument."
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
As part of my job, I hear stories on a weekly and sometimes daily basis about the many, many gruesome and mundane ways that you can die. Because of confidentiality rules, I can't be too specific but here are the top ten ways to become brain dead:
1. You are an electrician/roofer/window washer and frequently climb ladders as part of your job. One day, you slip/lose your balance/are stung by a bee and fall in slow motion to the concrete driveway in front of your five year old daughter (who probably later grows up and becomes a drug addict. See #4).
2. You wake up one day with the worst headache of your life. You complain about it. You take 3 Advil and lie down in the bedroom. Later, a loved one finds you unresponsive with foam on your lips. You are rushed to the emergency room where a CAT scan reveals that you have a blood clot/tumor/hemorrhage in your brain. You should've gone to the hospital right away. They might have been able to save you then.
3. You're a teenage boy and you've been out drinking Pabst with your friends on a Friday night. It's 3 AM, way past your curfew and it's raining. You drive you and your four unrestrained passengers (including the girl you have a crush on) into a telephone pole/embankment/Mac truck.
4. Life has not been easy. You've always been a troubled soul or maybe not; maybe you've always been a good kid, on the honor role in a private Catholic school. In any case, you (either through frequent use or on a whim because you've been doing shots of tequila) decide to shoot up with this really good shit your friend's friend Adam just brought in from New York. You O.D. and at your funeral, everyone says what a great kid you were, so nice to everyone you met.
5. You are a black kid living in Northeast Philadelphia. You will be shot point blank in the face with no exit wound.
6. It's Saturday and you and your family are spending it at the shore with the rest of the Jerseyites. You're hot and tell your spouse that you're going to go in the water for a minute. You wade out into the ocean until you're feet are just barely touching the sandy ground. You take a deep breath, dive into the cold water, have a seizure, inhale tons of water into your lungs, and drown.
7. For years, your family has worried about you because you just can't seem to get it together. You haven't formally been diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or maybe you have been labeled but you're not taking your meds. You are hounded by what Franklin Delano Roosevelt called "the black dog" of depression. You find a jump rope/bottle of tranquilizers/shotgun/paring knife/skyscraper and say sayonara to this cruel world. You are discovered by one of your family members who (like little girl in #1) will never lose the image of your lost and lifeless body).
8. Freak accident. You eat a bunch of roasted apple seeds at a sporting event not realizing that in high concentrations they act like cyanide to your system. You throw a rock at a tree and it bounces off and hits you in the forehead. You step out to get the mail in your socks and are struck by lightning. You slip on that bar of soap you've dropped in the shower approximately 768 times before this and smash your head on the tile. It is senseless, and, for years afterwards, people like to tell the story of your death at cocktail parties.
9. Just don't mess with anything electric. Especially if you're standing in water.
10. You are a pedestrian talking on your cell phone as you cross the street. Or you are a cyclist who doesn't want to mess up her hair by wearing a helmet. Or you are on your new lime green Vespa, thinking of other things. And a Greyhound bus flattens you before you even have a chance to change your course.
The lesson: We will all die, but some ways are worse than others and I vote for heart attack at the age of 80, please.
Friday, October 7, 2005
disaster to scare everyone into submission.
In brighter news, congratulations to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise for the best publicity stunt yet to deny homosexuality through artifical insemination or perhaps several painful episodes of intercourse with Hot Teen Boy Camp XXX playing in wide screen TV next to the bed! I used to sort of like Katie Holmes though she does have a simpering sweetness that's annoying and she's constantly sucking in her cheekbones, but now...I just wish she wouldn't walk around with her teeth clamped together in a robotic smile. I get that it's tough for Tom to come out to an American public obsessed with family vaules and saving the '"chirren" from predatory gay men (though statistically speaking, child molesters are more often men also involved in heterosexual relationships. I just made that up, but I think it's true). How many "out" actors exist who still play straight, male lead roles? I can think of zero, male or female. Look at Anne Heche. She starred with Harrison Ford in that dumb movie about a plane crash, then proclaimed her love for Ellen DeGeneres, then was offered nothing until she went non-gay and produced a child to show she likes dick. So, yes, okay, Tom, you don't have many options. Given your situation, I might do the same. But Katie, why, oh, why?
Which kiss is worse? Be suspicious of a man who puts his whole hand on your face during a kiss as if he's trying to block out your features because he's imagining someone more masculine. Or one who covers you entirely to disguise the fact that he's only presses his lips to yours ala a 1940s movie screen kiss. In any case, both kisses look staged and awkward.
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
1. When Mr. Darcy looks at Elizabeth, he wears an expression that's a combination of intense, heartsick love, bodice-ripping lust, and respectful worship. Also, he does that thing that I love where he steals glances at her when she her attention is elsewhere but holds her gaze for a second when she catches him staring before his pride (see title) causes him to break the glance (reminds me of a line from the first episode of My So-Called Life my friend Karen and I watched before draw-ling class last night where Angela says she'd like someone to say to her, You are so beautiful that it hurts to look at you).
2. That said, it's not that a person wants to be worshipped and loved to death--you don't want to be with someone you could bend around like a rubber doll. He LOVES her, but he's also elusive and awkward and has trouble expressing himself. However, when he finally manages to speak up, he tells her exactly what he thinks, even though he fears that she'll reject him. When she does reject him and basically tell him he's a dick (in Austen language, something like, "I am afraid that your behavior to date has left me with nothing more than feelings of grave displeasure which shall never allow me to return your feelings in kind so long as we are to be acquaintances. You dick"), he accepts it and doesn't insult her or continue to argue.
3. He can ride a horse like nobody's business and manages to look only slightly ridiculous in a top hat.
4. He acts. He strides about with purpose in silly looking white pants, doesn't whine, performs heroic acts without expecting thanks, and stands up to those who insult the people he loves.
5. He is self-reflective and capable of change.
6. He broods. I know that shouldn't be a good quality and wouldn't be attractive in real life, but you must love a man who is so tortured by his love for you that he (1). practices dueling until his wispy forelocks are pinned to his head with sweat (whispering to himself, "I will beat this thing!"); (2). dives into a mossy pond fully clothed (and emerges with his white shirt stuck to his body. Thank you, God, for that). (3). stays up all night writing Elizabeth a letter with a feathered pen that keeps running out of ink, goddamnit. All of which are fairly positive acts. Like, it wouldn't be quite as attractive if he brooded by drinking tons of brandy and sleeping with prostitutes. Even his brooding is refined.
7. His breeches suggest that he is well-hung and if you were to go by Shawn's theory of measuring a man's level of confidence by the size of his penis, you would have to agree that Mr. Darcy will not be a disappointment.
8. He loves dogs or at least loves women who love dogs, as is evidenced by the look of affection her throws Elizabeth's way as she's wrestling in the front yard with a Great Dane or whatever.
9. He admires Elizabeth for the best qualities in herself; that she's independent, playful, witty, not easily intimidated, and not for her weaknesses i.e. he is a feminist.
10. He has dimples. They are subtle and partially hidden by his sideburns but they exist. I am a sucker for dimples.
I mean, just look:
Monday, October 3, 2005
Soon after, I noticed that the sidewalk in front of our apartment is host to an inordinate amount those skittish cooing bowling pins known as city pigeons. Virginia likes to toss bread crumbs out to them and watch them peck at the ground. Alternately, she hates having them nearby and chases them off with a broom.
Once when Shawn and I were passing by, she said, "I can't find my cat!" We both stopped. Shawn said, "Oh, he'll come back when he gets hungry." She said, "He just ran away. He's a black cat." The wig on her head is so incredible, I can't accurately describe it. Gray and ratted--it occurs to me now that maybe it's not a wig. It could be her real hair that she hasn't washed or combed in a decade. I said, "What's your cat's name?" She paused for a minute. "Oh, ain't that a shame, I can't remember it. " I said, "We'll check the alleyways for him." She leaned over and kissed me on the cheeks saying, "Oh, you are a sweetheart!" I again almost had a seizure from trying not to laugh. I saw her son a little while later and asked him if the cat had come back. He said, "The cat? The cat is fine. She forgets that he goes down to the basement sometimes." Not long after that, I was sitting in the office and I heard her voice down below; she has this scratchy old lady voice with a slight whistling sound because she's missing several teeth. I couldn't understand what she said, but the guy passing by goes, "Oh, he'll come back when he's hungry!"
She is also often pleasantly surprised when she sees me unlocking our apartment. She will say "Oh, you live here? You'll love this neighborhood! Just love it!"
Other neighbors: the slinky Siamese cat across the street who hangs out on his front porch on warm days. He will jump on your shoulders if you're not careful, but is otherwise very friendly and cross-eyed.
And then I saw another old lady both days this weekend, also feeding pigeons from her front step. Yesterday, she was sitting in her doorstep in her mumu with her legs askew, reading an old receipt. You could see her underwear.
And thank you, to the couple on Carmac/8th St. who allowed Shawn and I a free live sex show last night. The girl was wearing a bright red sports bra type thing and I thought at first she was just really, really working hard on a treadmill; like, leaning super far forward, but then she straightened up and this guy's head popped up and he got behind her and appeared to be rearranging her. He also wore his shirt. We were standing on the other side of the street, looking up at their third story window, so we didn't actually see any nudity but we did see him get behind her and thrust rapidly again and again about 15 times; didn't look that sexy and didn't last that long. He collapsed on top of her, though all you could see were her legs wrapped around his back. I suggested to Shawn that we applaud. Neither one of us experienced a single tinge of guilt at being that voyeuristic. We didn't clap. I wouldn't want to encourage the guy's poor performance.
Saturday, October 1, 2005
I need to become Buddhist, or maybe start mediating though I've tried that before and I have a hard time keeping still; thinking the entire time that I should be doing something else like cleaning the cat litter box.
I don't have time for this even.
Friday, September 30, 2005
My friend from writing class, Karin (not to be confused with my drawing class friend, Karen), volunteered to write a food review for Philly Style magazine or someone and so invited me along for a free meal last night. The overall dining experience at Meze's was good and I don't want to sound like I'm not recommending it because I am fully recommending it, with the following suggestions:
1. Hold on tight to your silverware and keep an elbow on your plate at all times. Since this is a newer restaurant, the waitstaff has over-service-itis; you know, filling up your water glass after every sip, whisking your plate away at the slightest provocation (if you happen to momentarily lean back in your chair, for instance), having three different people ask you how everything is at four minute intervals, etc.
2. Don't order fish. Actually, that's just a note to myself. If you like fresh fish, order it. If you enjoy choking on tiny little white bendy bones, have the sea bass. We were told we could have it prepared at the table (with head) or fileted downstairs (without head but with fan-tail). We opted for headless. It did come without a head, though the fish platter also contained two eight-inch long sardines whose only disfigurement was the slice down the center of the belly that you were supposed to cut into and eat (I guess. I don't really know what you do with sardines). The heads with the little dead eyes were there and the tails and possibly even the scales. I don't like to eat anything with a face on it and I also don't like to eat anything that looks like it died violently just seconds before.
3. Don't exit the building when you hear a fire alarm; it's actually the ring of the phone at the hostess' stand.
4. If you want the manager to stop by your table, talk about strip clubs. Karin was describing a local male strip club where the women go wild and the manager stopped in his tracks and came over to our table, saying, "Oh, excuse, I overheard you say strip club," and then he told us about how he and his fiance have an ongoing argument about how much more subdued men are at strip clubs than women. I said something academic-like about the male gaze and double standards and he said, "Enjoy your pita! It's fresh from Greece!" and left. Veiled sexual innuendo? If so, compliment or not a compliment?
5. For dessert, you will be offered 5 strange things and 4 of them will have nuts in them. Order the thing without the nuts. It's doughy and has some strange fruit glaze on top (pineapple? apricot?) but no bones.
There now, see I've done all of Karin's work for her, thereby earning my meal.